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School reopenings are discussed in two counties this week

We tell you when they're happening, and how you can watch safely from home.
A student gets off the bus at East Bay High School in Gibstonton.
A student gets off the bus at East Bay High School in Gibstonton. [ Times (2010) ]
Published Jul. 13, 2020|Updated Jul. 13, 2020

TAMPA — Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. This week has a full schedule of meetings to discuss what comes next for the Florida schools.

On Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., the Pinellas County School Board will meet in a virtual workshop to fine-tune details of its school reopening plan, which we have posted here. The plan does not need a school board vote; the board meeting that follows the workshop is for other matters, such as principal assignments. The reopening is unpopular among many teachers who feel the schools should remain closed, or function only virtually, until the spread of COVID-19 cases slows or stops. A protest is planned at 9 a.m. at the school district headquarters, 301 4th Street SW in Largo. Use this link to watch the meeting.

On Wednesday, the state Board of Education will hold its regular meeting, time at Strawberry Crest High School in Dover. Some readers are asking if public comment is allowed: It is! That 9 a.m. meeting opens with Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran delivering an update on reopening and the federal CARES Act, which provides economic relief to blunt the impact of the pandemic. You can attend in person or view the meeting here.

Public comment is NOT allowed at Thursday’s Hillsborough County School Board workshop, also about the reopening. That 1 p.m. gathering will give board members a chance to ask detailed questions about Hillsborough’s plan, which Superintendent Addison Davis unveiled at the last board meeting on July 7. Here are the relevant pages from Davis’s PowerPoint. You watch the meeting here.

There is no word yet about the virtual town hall meeting in Hillsborough that was discussed last week.

Over the weekend, the Hillsborough district did send out updated statistics on where people are sending their children on Aug. 10.

It broke down like this: 62.5 percent in “brick and mortar” schools, 30 percent in “e-Learning” through their regular schools; and 7.9 percent in Hillsborough Virtual K-12. That last group, at 4,655 students, represents an increase of more than tenfold for the virtual school, which is now on a marketing campaign.

On both sides of the bay, groups of teachers and parents have been organizing to petition the districts to delay the openings, now scheduled for Aug 10 and 12.


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